It's no secret that Cowboys & Aliens underperformed at the box office. No one knows that better than director Jon Favreau. He recently appeared on Marc Maron's WTF podcast and revealed why he thinks the movie suffered.
"Cowboys & Aliens, it didn't bomb, but it was definitely a 'pillow party,'" Favreau explained. "You always feel this way about the latest project you've done, but I feel like it's the most evolved work I've done."
The director realized that you can't please everyone, no matter how good you think your work is. "I learned the lesson that you can make the best bacon sundae in the world, but if people don't want to eat that flavor of ice cream ... and the name was misleading," he continued.
Despite the pedigree of talent before and behind the camera, Favreau still felt he was in an uphill battle. "With so many [actors] associated with it, it was seen as the big dog, and we felt we were underdogs with how obscure the material was ...The name that was so interesting made everyone think it was going to be a comedy, and maybe it would've been better served with a different vision."
It's always a risk to take on a big-budget movie. After Iron Man's blockbuster success, Favreau "had been spoiled." He revealed, "It's always a trick of 'how can you get the big summer movie, with the big budget, where you can play with all the toys yet do something interesting with it?' ... [Looking at Iron Man,] part of me felt that it was going to bomb, and part of me felt like this is going to be the best movie in the world."
Cowboys & Aliens grossed $174 million worldwide, while Iron Man earned more than $585 million.